Rants: The Truth about Honesty

How hard is it to tell the truth? Or maybe, to be more exact, how hard is it to be honest with another person? This is all just basic communication. You ask me how I am, I tell the truth (well most of the time). I ask you what you are eating for dinner, you tell the truth. No need to make up some elaborate story about that, right? I ask you what you thought of the last book you read and you tell me the truth. You ask me what I thought of the last episode of Sons of Anarchy and I tell you what I thought. Not that difficult, right?

I haven’t written many rants on here lately… Not because I haven’t had any, or because all of a sudden I became the happiest person in the world without anything to complain about (utopia? Wherever another human being is to be found I am sure I will find something to complain about). I’ve just been busy, a lot of it working, or sitting around watching people interact with each other, mainly in the dark confines of bars way after what would be considered a “normal” bed time. And the recurring theme that seems to have come up, randomly over the past few weeks, with different groups of people (or just one person alone for that matter), is honesty. Or maybe Honesty, with a capital H. Let’s just make it sound important, because for something so simple, it seems to be one of the most difficult things for many people to actually grasp.

I think my main rant is about the fact that wherever it would be just so easy to tell the truth (with a yes/no response), people tend to instead make up some crazy story that is as far from the (easy) truth that can be, and once it has come out of their mouth they can’t retract it anymore. Or are too scared to, and have to continue playing along with the stupid story that they made up until it becomes something so big that they can’t get away from it anymore. But we all know the truth about these types of these situations… They never stay hidden for long, and once the person who has been lied to finds out then any kind of trust is just broken. And once trust is broken, how can you go back to believing the person again. If they can’t tell the truth about one thing, then where is the line drawn between what is real and what is a lie in anything they say?

I get it, it’s sometimes really scary to actually tell someone how you feel (about life, about them, about anything personal), but isn’t it actually then better just to keep your mouth shut if you don’t think you can say the truth? This is coming from someone who has a real hard time talking about anything that is feeling-related because I don’t trust many people not to throw it back in my face. I refuse to lie though. I’ll just say I don’t want to talk about it. I know that’s not much better, but I would much rather someone tell me that than the exact opposite of what they are really thinking. Then again when someone asks me straight out what I think about something, and I feel that they merit a proper response, I will tell the truth. It never even crosses my mind to make up a lie, because what’s the point? So I really don’t get these people who just have to lie.

Just be HONEST. It’ll save everyone involved from a lot of hurt and anger and confusion down the road.

Just a few of the stupid lies and stories I have heard, or heard about over the past couple of weeks:
“Yeah I don’t mind.” (I really do mind and am now going to use this against you later on)
“I like you and am not seeing anyone else.” (I am but I want you to stick around for a while longer so I’ll just lie about it)
“I’m not going to be able to make it because I have stuff to do at home.” (I made better plans with another group of friends but am too scared to hurt your feelings)
“I totally agree with what you are saying!” (I don’t but I am too scared to actually talk about my own thoughts on the subject).

Blah. People. So boringly predictable at times. Why make your life so more difficult by being a hypocrite and a liar when you can just tell the truth and be a genuinely nice person?

Rant over.

Ramblings: A visit to the Post Office

Going to the Post Office around here is always an experience. I’m not going to add an adjective here, the word “experience” explains it pretty well. I live between two post offices, each about a mile away in distance. I tried the one that is a little closer (one subway stop walk away), down by Flushing on Debevoise St once. Never again. I stood in line for about an hour, while people kept pushing past me because they “only needed stamps”. Great. I “only needed to mail a letter abroad”, but that obviously didn’t mean anything.

So I tend to go to the one that is two subway stops away, on Gates and Broadway. The line is never too long, and the employees are really friendly. Which always surprises me a little, because every time I have been there there is always a customer causing unnecessary drama. Late last year I sold a load of clothes on eBay and was waiting in line to send a bunch of packages when a woman started screaming (yes, screaming) at a Post Office employee, because her social security card hadn’t arrived in her mailbox and because of that she had nowhere to stay that night. Within five minutes we had heard her whole life story twice, because she demanded to see a manager, and had to scream the whole story all over again. I don’t know if she thought that the manager was going to magic her social security card out of thin air, or miraculously create it for her, but I didn’t stick around to hear the end of the story. The screeching voice started to give me a headache. There was another time I was there and one guy held the line up for about 20 minutes because he needed to repack his package in a smaller box so that it was cheaper to send, but wouldn’t let anyone be served while he was repacking the stuff. Today someone started yelling at one of the employees because his package wasn’t there. For 15 minutes he bitched and raved about how everyone was so rude and had stolen his package, until he realised he was at the wrong post office. People really need to read things correctly before exploding into a tirade of expletives at some poor employee.

Which reminds me… What is this deal with the Priority Mail package boxes?! The “large” one is no bigger than a shoe box! One of my close friends lives in Brazil, and due to the insane import taxes slapped on to anything purchased outside of the country, she had a pair of boots sent to me, which I was then going to send on to her. I didn’t want to just send the Steve Madden box along with her address stuck on it (sure fire way for the package to disappear somewhere between here and Rio), so I grabbed a “large” box and repackaged the boots in it. When I got to the Post Office I was told that it would cost $60 as I had used a “large” box, but would only cost $40 if I used a “regular” box. There was no way the shoes were going to fit in a “regular” box (maybe they were made for sending a small book, because that’s all they will fit), so I had to just to sigh and go with it. And anyway, I didn’t want to be THAT person taking everything out of one box and shoving it in a smaller one, just to see that it would never fit.  Smart way to make you pay more than you thought you were going to pay.

I asked the woman helping me if it would be possible to have a tracking number. Her response was that it wasn’t possible, because there was no reliable internet in the destination country. In BRAZIL?! I wasn’t sending the boots to someone in the middle of the rain forest in the Congo! I was sending them to an extremely large and well-known city called Rio de Janeiro. I didn’t say anything because she gave me a customs tracking number which is all I really needed anyway. But come on… No reliable internet in Brazil?! I honestly feel like the Post Office here is still stuck in the 80’s and is having a lot of trouble catching up with today’s world. But in the end I would rather still use them that FedEx or UPS, because they are cheaper (even with the inflated box prices and the little add-ons they convince you to get every time you go there to buy a stamp). Thankfully today’s experience only took about 20 minutes and I was able to get out of there before another person came in to shout abuse at the staff. 

Oh… Has anybody tried using the machines that they finally have in some of the post offices (not in Bushwick yet, but I have seen them in some Manhattan locations)?! They are SO hard to use. Why on earth can’t you send multiple letters and packages without having to pay for each one separately?! Such a waste of time! I am so glad that nowadays I only have to go to the post office a few times a year… 

Ramblings: Of zombies, Buffy and weeks that won't go right

I've been quite reflective this week, a little more than the past few weeks anyway, less nostalgic, more reflective on the present and the near future. Last week I suffered from a 7 day headache that just wouldn't go away, and I even had to resort to Advil on one night, which I tend to try to avoid unless I really need it. I know, I know, with the sheer amounts of alcohol I used to consume I shouldn't really be worried how one Advil can effect me, should I? I just never liked taking pills, and still feel the same now. And I also feel like I should stay tough and get through any type of pain without help, because that's what tough-girls-who-don't-need-your-help do. All I really needed was a few days of peacefulness, away from most people, a good book, a few quiet shifts at my theatre/bookstore job, and most importantly, two nights of uninterrupted sleep. I kind of got all of that, so by the time Sunday came around, I was feeling much happier and the weather had also decided to go into full-on summer mode, which always helps to lift my spirits too.

By Tuesday I wasn't feeling as happy anymore. People had partied too much over the weekend and were not going out drinking, which, you know, they should, seeing as this is how I pay my rent, getting people drunk and hoping they will tip me well. Although I must say, those quiet nights sure do bring out the insane. I had to kick one person out on each night I worked this week, just because they decided to start fights with bar regulars. The best part of it was on Tuesday night around 3 am, when I actually raised my voice (very rare occurrence), which shocked every one of the 5 people in the establishment so much that everyone went silent. Maybe I should use this tool more often as a weapon against drunken idiots who pick fights on the basis that "they know more about world politics than us dumb foreigners".
In any case, I decided to take things as they came this week - I kept losing at Chess with Friends, I didn't write a word of legible content, or even have an inspirational writing idea, my little brother has decided to disappear from any form of communication and I felt like everything was going to go awry anyway, so why not just let it run it's course and bear with it? I feel like there were other things that made me a little grumpy work-wise earlier this week, but only because I always tend to feel responsible for everything and then pissed off when it isn't done right. But there are actually much worse things happening in the world, as always, (people eating other people in this country anyone?), so my little irks and complaints really aren't important on the grand scale of things, are they? I mean, I'm still alive, I'm still myself, and I won't be eating someone's face off on a highway ramp anytime soon. (As a side note, don't get all curious about what the cannibal's victim looked like and decide to look at a picture of him. It will give you nightmares, I promise).

Funnily enough, amidst all of this talk of zombie apocalypse and other end of world drama, I have been re-watching season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The season which culminates in what should be a real end of world hell mouth re-opening with the First Evil building an army of ancient vampires to kill all that is good and take over planet earth. Good old evil vampire horror with some great ass-kicking Good against Evil fights (and Spike being all wonderfully endearing with his new soul and all that goes with it). I think I may have scared the dog this morning while practicing my zombie-deterrent high kicks and punches, so it may be more safe for the world if I start training in a more discreet fashion for the time being, by running a few miles a day again. Need to build up that endurance just in case, because you never know what is going to happen. For all I know we could be living on top of a hell mouth that is going to open and spew out thousand of zombie-like vampires.
I still love this TV show as much as I did when it first came out - it could have been so silly, like the original movie, but ended up being super smart and fast-paced, with some excellent characters and also brilliant character development. And I always cry at the end of each season, however many times I have seen them. And some good old world-saving tactics never fail to make me feel happy, especially when it is heavily laden with sarcasm and wit.

So now it's Thursday, and I feel the need to write in here while I am at work at the theatre, listening to Jonathan Pryce's voice as he plays in Harold Pinter's The Caretaker, just because I haven't posted anything in here since last Sunday. Promise I will write about something more interesting during my next shift on Saturday...Which reminds me... While I was walking across the street earlier, on my way here, I was hit by a sudden smell of hot concrete and petrol fumes which immediately took me back to my trip to India in 1993. I could see myself stuck in traffic in a rickshaw, hot and sweaty and wondering if we would make it back to the pilgrim center in one piece. I want to go back and experience it all again, but as an adult this time (I just realised right this moment that my mum was the age I am now when we went to India). But I also want to go to Africa and travel around there. I need to go to France (this isn't even an option anymore, I have to go back this year). I must make sure to get all of these trips in before the zombie apocalypse really takes off and travel becomes a difficult undertaking. I don't think fleeing to a desert island is really a viable option due to the fact that there may be smoke monsters and Others lying in wait.

I'm having way too much fun creating all of these survival techniques in my head. There must be a short story in here somewhere. Which reminds me... I need to write a story about my ex-CIA/MI-5 cab driver who picked me up on Wednesday night. Fascinating (even if it was all a figment of his own imagination).

Ramblings/Rants: The Excessive Use of Xanax & Anti-Anxiety drugs

This morning I was rereading an article on the usage of Xanax in the US that was posted in New York Magazine back in March. I remember reading it the first time back then and having a thousand thoughts that I wanted to write down and post here, but I forgot about it until I came across a note about it on my “to write about” list. Something along the lines of “write about the excessive use of Xanax and other anti-anxiety drugs in this country and why it drives me insane”. The article in question can be found right HERE  (Listening to Xanax - Lisa Miller, New York Magazine, March 18 2012) and is worth a read as it is informative, brings up all different viewpoints and comes to a pretty good conclusion. Maybe a bit less dramatic and unyielding as my own thoughts on the usage of this drug, but sometimes it’s good to read up on things that you think you know all about. It didn’t change my mind about what I think of Xanax and her friends, but it would take a lot for anything to change my mind about that nowadays.

I’m not going to rewrite the article, that would be futile, but I shall definitely quote certain parts of it. Actually you should all read it, and then provide your own thoughts on the matter. Take your own stance, talk about why you love or hate the drug. I’m a natural worrier and have suffered from mild to severe anxiety for as long as I can remember. Mild being that clammy-hand-heart-pounding feeling you get when your teacher calls on you in class to answer a question; severe being not being able to leave the house out of fear of having yet another panic attack in the middle of a public setting, you know, hyperventilating while wanting to hide under a table so you can puke your guts up in peace. I was a shy kid, prone to worrying and getting nervous about speaking in public. But who doesn’t get nervous about speaking in public anyway? When I was at school you certainly couldn’t ask your doctor for something to combat your nerves when you had to do a presentation in class, or when you had to sit end of semester or year exams. During every Maths class I ever had I would pretend I was invisible and hope with all my heart that the teacher would pass over me and not ask me to go up to the blackboard to solve an equation that I had no clue on how to start, let alone finish (it actually worked pretty well, the invisible thing… Or maybe the teacher realized that torturing me was not going to actually help me get better at Maths). It didn’t get better at University either, especially when I actually had to present elaborate interpretations of modern poetry in an amphitheater using a microphone. All those tips about “pretending everyone in front of you is naked” and “you know more about the subject than them” don’t work. Just saying. For three days before I had to present my MA thesis I probably ate a total of two bites of food because my stomach had decided it was closed to the idea of food. And so on… There are many, many examples I could list. I wonder if my life would have been different if every time I had felt anxious I had been able to take a pill to feel calmer?

Would I have pursued acting? I loved being on stage. I had no problems learning lines by heart and becoming my character. I just couldn’t bear the thought of actually having to perform in front of people. Nightmare. The few times I did it I wanted to jump off a bridge and hated myself for putting myself through it. But I think that’s the point – I put myself through it. I accomplished something that was way beyond my comfort zone. So, I think my main question is now, why are so many people resorting to a magic pill every time they feel a twinge of anxiety? Look, I know full well there are people who suffer from debilitating forms of anxiety and depression, and I understand that people who suffer from certain mental illnesses need to take some form of medication in order to function normally on a day to day basis. I also know that some people may not be alive today if they hadn’t been prescribed medication. That’s fine; this is why in these cases we talk about “illness”. Medicine for an illness. But normal levels of anxiety can’t be diagnosed as an illness! That type of anxiety is just another emotion, like fear, sadness or happiness! If we didn’t have the ability to feel anxious then how could we have the ability to feel happy or sad? Fear is a warning our brain gives us when something feels out of place or wrong. If we didn’t feel symptoms of fear then how would we be able to protect ourselves from danger? Surely some anxiety is healthy for us, no?

To quote the article: “Xanax and its siblings—Valium, Ativan, Klonopin, and other members of the family of drugs called benzodiazepines—suppress the output of neurotransmitters that interpret fear. They differ from one another in potency and duration; those that enter your brain most quickly (Valium and Xanax) can make you the most high. But all quell the racing heart, spinning thoughts, prickly scalp, and hyperventilation associated with fear’s neurotic cousin, anxiety, and all do it more or less instantly. Prescriptions for benzodiazepines have risen 17 percent since 2006 to nearly 94 million a year; generic Xanax, called alprazolam, has increased 23 percent over the same period, making it the most prescribed psycho-pharmaceutical drug and the eleventh- most prescribed overall, with 46 million prescriptions written in 2010. In their generic forms, Xanax is prescribed more than the sleeping pill Ambien, more than the antidepressant Zoloft. Only drugs for chronic conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol do better.” So why are doctors prescribing anti-anxiety pills to just about everyone who complains about feeling “worried” or “anxious”? (I have the same question about the over prescribing of Vicodin to patients suffering from slight toothache too, but this is beside the point). How many times have I heard someone mention that they are scared of flying, and someone else comments that they should take a Xanax to get through it? It’s not like life is scarier in this day and age, I mean we live in times where can actually feel safe, despite worrying about terrorist attacks, nuclear war and other similar world-related issues. We worried about those issues 30 years ago too. At least nowadays our life expectancy is considerably higher than it was 150 years ago and we don’t have to worry about the bubonic plague wiping out half a population. Why are doctors prescribing pills to children who are shy and anxious at school? How are kids going to learn how to face their fears if they are given a pill to forget about them?

To quote the article again: “But the anti-benzo psychologists are also making a value judgment. They believe Americans would be better, and healthier, if they learned to manage their anxiety without pills. They believe people should feel their feelings. A pill can be a crutch, says Doug Mennin, an anxiety specialist at Hunter College who does private therapy for the functionally anxious. The more you use it, the less able you are to navigate life’s tough spots on your own. “I’m a New Yorker,” says Mennin. “I see dependency on pills all the time. What I say to clients is, ‘You’re selling yourself short a little bit.’ If you’re going through a stressful time, and you say, ‘I’m going to get some of these,’ then the next time you get to that kind of problem, you start seeking out that pill. If you didn’t have the pill, you’d probably be okay.” The mind is a muscle, Mennin adds. With practice, you can teach it to handle anxiety: “It’s the same kind of skill as learning a better backhand in tennis.” This is exactly the way I feel about it. In my own personal life I feel that by learning to overcome certain fears and situations that caused me anxiety I have been able to do things that I never would have been able to do if I let the panic take over. But not only that, I’ve learnt that I don’t need to fear these things again. If I had taken a pill and got through them, then the next time I was in the same situation I would have reached for the pills again. I’m not superwoman though, there were many times in my life that I self-medicated with alcohol. A couple of shots of vodka worked wonders against an impending panic attack, but only if I was out in a bar when I could feel one coming on. At any other time I just had to grin and bear it, breathe deeply and dream about the moment that it would all be over. I’ll always remember shaking before a presentation at work, wondering why I felt like throwing up when all I was doing was presenting an idea I had come up with and applied to a project. That’s a feeling I know that will never go away, but I don’t actually feel like I want it to. My anxiety is as much a part of me as my ability to feel happy when I’m in the presence of someone I care about. Or angry when someone hurts my feelings. I don’t WANT to eliminate the feeling, even if it sometimes drives me insane. What makes people want to remove all forms of emotion and feel numb, even if it’s just for a while? How can you function properly when all you feel is numbness? What kind of life are you willing to live if you want to block out all forms of emotion and creativity? I know people who take Xanax to knock themselves out and forget about everything. I can understand that if you are going through something quite terrible (death, physical pain), but just because you are slightly stressed at work? Why knock yourself out during the time you are actually outside of work, when you can relax and enjoy life? In the end, what is the point in actually living if this is how you go through life? I know I am being severely subjective right now, but the idea of having no emotion and therefore wiping out my natural creativity scares me more than speaking in public, so I would rather just deal with the anxiety and forget the pills. 

To quote a friend: “I’m sick of Xanax dilated eyes zombies; emotionless kielbasa heads”… It’s true… When did the ability to FEEL become such a problem? If we have a pill for every moment of stress or anxiety in our lives, how are we going to deal with real tragedy and pain when it really happens? How can we learn to survive in this world if we just block it out every time the going gets tough? Or is that certain people's form of survival? I'd rather do without thank you very much. And if one day I have kids, then I shall be that annoying parent who forces her kids to deal with anxiety (apologies to said kids in advance).

Ramblings: Of Changes and Survival Modes

I can't believe how this year is flying by, it's already the middle of May, Spring is finally here and I'm going to be flying to California for two weeks in exactly a month. Which also means I need to save and save and save every penny I make over the next month, because nowadays holiday means unpaid time off, and rent and bills still need to be paid, wherever I happen to be in the world. I'm not complaining though, this time last year I would sleep about 3 hours a night, go into work with a pit in my stomach that would grow and grow throughout the day, and go home and collapse, still stressed out and thinking about all the projects I was undoubtedly going to mess up at work. Now I am working three different jobs, 7 days a week with a day off thrown in here and there, but I have time to see my friends, hang out at home and write, draw and dream. I even have time to read and write at one of my jobs, which happens to be in the middle of a theatre, which is probably one of the coolest things ever. But the best part of all this is that I go to work and then don't have to think about it until I have to go back again. No one calls me with questions about different projects, I don't have to spend 12 hours working on a coverage chart when I take a day off, and guess what? I actually have fun at work. Who would have thought?!

I can't say that it has been easy to pull off, this whole change thing, there were days when I didn't know how I was going to actually afford my next meal, let alone pay rent and other important bills, and I still have a lot of credit card debt I am going to have to start paying off in the very near future (because letting all those 1-800 and 1-866 numbers ring to voicemail every day is really not dealing with the problem very effectively), but, you know, I feel like smiling every morning/afternoon when I wake up. There are days when I still feel so mad I want to stomp my feet and kick people, and there are still days when I don't want to get out of bed to face the world, but they aren't as frequent anymore. I just feel like this is what I always should have been doing when I moved here. What I want. I still don't know if I actually pulled anything off really, everything could fall apart tomorrow, but at the same time I know it will always be OK.

I was walking to the subway this morning, thinking about a million things as usual, and it dawned on me that I live most of my life in some kind of survival mode. Not real "I am being hunted by evil murderers" survival mode (although that is a recurring nightmare of mine), more like a "shit happens so I just have to bear with it" kind of outlook on life every day. Tired because I got home at 7am, had to take the dog out and have to be back at work at 4pm? Oh well, I'll sleep better tonight. Annoyed because friend never comes to say hello because her job is too tiring? No problem, there are at least ten other better friends who always come to visit me. Nose broken because stupid ice machine lid fell on it? No problem, it will heal again, just like the time before, and the time before that. Annoying people being dickheads at work? I just complain and then forget about them (even those annoying student idiots who thought that adding a tip to $2 beers didn't apply to them).  It's all about getting to a place where you want to be in life, a place where you don't have to worry so much about everything... I feel like I am nearly there now. Don't get me wrong, I still worry about everything, but just less than I used to.

I'm so in love with this city, still today. It's been 7 years now, and I can't really imagine myself being anywhere else. I was writing a short story based on a parting of ways that occurred in my life in 2004 last night, and was looking for the journal I wrote during that time. While searching for it I came across a couple of journals I had started in 2005 and 2006, and spent an hour reminiscing about those days... It was all a lot of innocent fun, words about people I had just met who now happen to be my closest friends; words about people who have now disappeared into different lives and places; places that no longer exist and other places that are still there, and are still frequented by us all. Then there was one entry, written during my last trip to France in 2006 that was so insightful at what was to become of me over the next few years that I wish I had listened to myself a bit more when I wrote it. Or maybe not, because in the end it was all for the best. Someone once told me a couple of years ago that I just needed to hit rock bottom in order to find my way again, and I think he was right. I probably always knew what I was doing, even when I thought I didn't anymore.

So yes, New York. I often say that I miss Europe or that I want to move to a desert island and live by the ocean for the rest of my life... This isn't a lie, and I do miss France terribly every once in a while. I just need to make my way back there for a bit, see my friends, go to the old haunts and see how Grenoble has changed over the years (or not, whatever the more accurate statement may be). But New York will always be the city I come back to, I know that all too well now. I've never felt so completely at home as I do here. My apartment, my friends, my jobs, my favourite places to drink and eat, my memories and the new memories I create every day. Sounds silly maybe, but I spent so long looking for a place I could call my home, and it makes me happy to know that I found it.

I wrote a piece called Paradise the other day, based on the same theme for an online magazine. If it doesn't get accepted I will post it here seeing as I was quite proud of it when I wrote it. Something a lot of people can relate to I think, and it also goes along the vein of living in survival mode, continuing to move even when you think you can't anymore. I used to write mainly based on images in my imagination, nowadays I feel like most of my writing comes from something that happened to me, or that could have happened to me. I don't know if that is good or not, but I know that I need to get it all written down before I forget it.

The sun is shining outside, I'm writing this at work listening to Ride and I'm looking forward to seeing what this summer has to offer... And I just got inspired to write a few more short stories. Not a bad start to the day, I think!

Ramblings: random self-centered BS

Ever since I woke up I have been trying to think about how I will start writing a review of the Spiritualized show for my blog. I will write one at some point over the next few days, whether or not I will actually post it will be another story, but right now I just can’t. I need to keep it all to myself for a few days. I know that may sound weird, but every time I see them I have such a fantastic personal connection to the music that it takes me a while to process it all. And I actually don’t really want to share it with anyone.

Someone who I consider a close friend hurt my feelings on Monday evening (just before the show), and I’m terrible at just saying out loud “that was really unkind of you and my feelings are hurt”. Instead, while I was watching the show I found I really wanted to drink. Specifically, I wanted to drink a Stoli on the rocks, my old favourite and a drink I haven’t touched in well over 3 years. I wanted to down one and then another. I could literally even taste it… That is, until I said it out loud, that I wanted a drink, and because I have the best friends in the world I just got a “No” in reply. Then that feeling was gone, and I went back to total music immersion, and forgot about it. It wasn’t until later that I realized that the only reason I actually really wanted to get drunk was because I wanted to piss off the person who had hurts my feelings earlier. Um… Trying to get back at someone by ultimately hurting oneself? Very mature approach to life! So stupid. I really think I need a holiday from everything right now. I’ve been dreaming of a week on a remote island where all I have is a notebook to write in, my iPod so I can listen to music and lots of sand, waves and sunshine. All of this with no people around me. Just a week away.

One of my pet peeves is someone telling me I’m doing something wrong (when I am actually not), in front of other people, with the ultimate aim to make me look like an idiot. It makes me feel like a child, and then I end up actually wanting to act like a child, you know, kick a few things over and scream, maybe punch someone. Thinking about it, I don’t think I ever acted like that when I was a child, so I guess I missed out on the tantrum phase and feel the need to have them at the age of 34. That said, I don’t actually do anything, just grit my death and mutter insults under my breath while carrying on with what I am doing. This happened last night and seeing as I am still annoyed (and embarrassed) by it I’m writing about it so I can forget about it (I think that may only make sense to me).

You know what else would be a really cool getaway? A road trip across the US. Chuck a few things in the back of the car and take off and see all these different places I have never been to before. I would love to go through Mississippi and Tennessee, all through the South, go to the Grand Canyon, drive through the desert… Pity I can’t actually drive. Maybe one day I will actually learn, or they will invent a car that you can just drive with your eyes or voice. The latter would probably be the best option. Learn how to drive so you can an escape holiday across unknown to you countryside. I was actually walking to dog this morning and realised that I really wish I could take him to Rutland so he could run around in the fields and go on a long walk through the country paths. It gets quite boring just walking along the streets of Bushwick sometimes.

Have to go to work again… I have a load of stories I have to write this weekend, all based on things I have seen over the past few weeks. I think the funniest one is going to be based on a bar we walked into before the show on Monday. I felt like we had walked into a different dimension. I need more time to write, I don’t want to lose all these ideas!

Rant: Boom in human trafficking/prostitution in Spain

I was reading THIS article on the New York Times website yesterday during a performance at work, which talks about the boom in human trafficking and prostitution in Spain. I know I always get really worked up about a multitude of different disgusting things that humans do to other humans in this world, and I know I like to rant about injustice and despicable actions on here, but what better forum to go on and on about these type of issues than here? Assuming that at least one person reads this and passes this on to another person and so on and so forth, then at least one extra person in this world is talking about this.

The article reads just as any other article would read, gives you the details, the facts and the story. But there was one sentence that really got me thinking, and raging in my head: "On a recent evening, one young man from Paris stood in the parking lot of Club Paradise, bragging about his sexual exploits while his friends looked on. The women, he said, did not talk about whether they were being forced to have sex.
“Maybe,” he said. “But I think they are having a good time.” "


OK, let's take a step back. I'm all for having the right to choose what I want to do with my life. If a woman wants to be a prostitute, a porn star, a courtesan, a stripper, then it is her choice to make it into her career and I fully respect that. I am sure there are many women who are happy with this choice, as I am also sure there are many who aren't (as with any types of profession). However, I am also sure that for many women it is a last resort, or, even worse, they have been forced into it and are technically slaves to the industry. We hear about these stories all the time, women and children who are sold into the sex industry, forced to prostitute themselves, never actually seeing any of the money themselves as they are also forced to give it all up. It's a widespread issue, in every country. SO how does one differentiate from the women who are actually selling themselves willingly, and those who have been forced into sexual slavery? How does one regulate this?

In Spain, for example, like in The Netherlands, prostitution is legal. Pimping is illegal, so the traffickers handle the women by threatening them with their lives and/or their family's lives. Women are smuggled into countries under the impression that they will be able to find a job and a better life, money to send back home, but when they find out the truth it is already too late to turn back. The police in Spain cannot arrest prostitutes, so if a prostitute is seeking a way out she needs to actively go to the police for help. This is where the circle never ends, the police don't have enough resources to help the women, and even if they did, the women live in constant fear of their lives.

The only reason why this industry exists to this extent is because of the demand for it. The supply follows the demand, and, according to the article above, the demand is getting higher and higher. I suppose the most simple of solutions would be to cut off the demand, that way the endless money brought in by prostitution would dwindle and effectively cut off the monetary benefits that the traffickers currently enjoy. Outlawing prostitution would probably not be as effective as it would drive it underground, making it even more difficult to help enslaved women. At least while they are outside in the open there is a way to at least monitor what is going on. So I think what my main question is... Is why on earth the demand is so high? Do most men looking to pay for sex really assume that the woman with the foreign accent selling herself on the street corner is doing this because she actually enjoys it? Do people get a thrill out of paying for something that I am sure they wouldn't have any trouble getting for free in a nightclub or a bar (although I suppose they would have to at least try to seduce a woman in a bar, making it more of an effort...). I just don't get it. It's common knowledge that there are so many women who have been forced into sexual slavery all over the world, so doesn't anyone stop to think that they are actually participating in this? Do they just not care?

Prostitution has always existed, and will most probably continue to always exist, but the fact that sexual slavery exists, in such an open and widespread fashion, in this day and age, makes me so angry, and helpless at the same time. Oh, and it also exists here in the US. It's just not as visible.

For more information on human trafficking and what you can do to help:
ECPAT International
On The Ground - Nicholas Kristof's NYT Blog

Random words put together form sentences and thoughts

It’s always interesting how you can live in a large city, populated by millions of people and still feel like you live in a small village where everyone knows you, even if you don’t know everyone.

“Oh my god, did you see X1 the other day? She was wearing SWEATPANTS in public!!”


“X2 didn’t have a cigarette after he had dinner, maybe he’s SICK??”


“I didn’t see X3 get her coffee this morning, maybe she has relapsed and shooting up in some gutter again!”

Multiply by 5 voices and all of a sudden X1 has bedbugs and had to get rid of her whole wardrobe, X2 has lung cancer and X3 is in a morgue after multiple heroin overdoses. All in the space of a few hours.

And then come the text messages:

“Are you OK?”

“Why are you doing X or X again?”

“What on earth were you thinking??”

“Do you need help??”

WHAT?! We’re all guilty of gossip and most of the time it’s pretty ludicrously funny.

Word gets around faster than fire on wood here; fire on dry wood that is. I should have just taken a foghorn and stood on Ludlow and Houston and yelled “I’m having a drink and I’m getting drunk – let’s all talk about it!!”. It wasn’t a secret, I don’t have anything to hide… I got drunk, had a blast, felt terribly hungover the next day and then moved on with my life. As my mum so accurately put it, it’s called survival. I doubt I’ll be doing that again for a while, but I taught myself that there really is nothing wrong in having a drink now and again, as long as it’s just a few. I really do have way too much to accomplish in my life than to waste my time getting over a hangover. I’m on chapter 6 of my novel, I have a job that I actually enjoy, I am working on several pieces of art that may or may not be any good, I have an ever-growing list of articles to write and post on my blog, I have several photography excursions that I want to do and about a gazillion other things I want to get done before I am 34. Which happens to be in about 5 months… So that leaves little time and a lot to get done.

I spent so much of my life thinking that it was always all or nothing. Sometimes it’s possible to use moderation, and even I am finally coming to terms with that. If I don’t think it’s a big deal then no one else should either – I would really honestly you paid more attention to things that really matter to me, like my writing.

And that’s all I have to say about that. Except maybe that the high kick in the little crepe dude's face is going to keep me giggling for a long time.

Bar story #1

Ah well I am going to be self-indulgent again and write about a funny/annoying story that just happened to me at work. Just because I haven't been able to tell anyone about it yet.

I tend not to judge people on how they are dressed, or by what they do work-wise, or their music taste (although that's a hard one). Anyway, I had literally just opened the bar when a guy rushed in. Dressed in a suit, probably around 25, harmless enough. He asked me for his Amex card that he had left here at the weekend, so I got it for him. He sighed and said "I need to talk to someone, I have been overcharged, there is no way I spent this much!". His tab was $40, so I said, no problem, let me take your name and number and I will have one of the owners call you back to discuss. At which he sneered and said "I need to talk to someone NOW. This is NOT acceptable, there is NO WAY I spent this much money.".

Um OK dude. You got wasted, left your card at the bar and now you are contesting a $40 tab?! That's not even including a tip. Douchebag.
Not only that, he actually looked down on me, sneered and talked to me like I was a complete idiot. Well, you know what... Just because you are wearing a suit and probably earning a lot more than me, I don't envy you. You are a pompous, stupid twat.
So I just smiled, put my poshest British accent on and said "I will have one of the owners look into this when they are here. Have a good night."
He sneered and stomped out. Go next time maybe pay cash, that way you will be able to keep track of how much money you spend on booze. If you leave your card at the bar you should be happy that we kept it and didn't just destroy it. Pffff!!!


Talking about oneself is... Tedious.

Nowadays we can upload our feelings of the moment, thoughts, images and movements to a public forum on the internet whenever we want, we can bare our souls to a group of people who may or may not know us, drunkenly declare our love to someone so the world can see it and delete it the next day, pretending that it never really happened. Who really notices anyway, there is so much information being added and updated by the minute that it literally is in one ear and out another, right?

I’ve always found it really hard to talk about myself. Unless you actually ask me, I probably won’t volunteer any real information about myself, especially if I am not close to you. If you are a close friend I may talk more about myself, but tend to listen more than talk. One of my friends told me yesterday that I needed to be more vocal about my thoughts, feelings, emotions and activities, so that people would remember them. But I just can’t… I will say something once and hope that it is remembered, and then usually get upset when it isn’t. I just don’t want to be that person who continuously talks about herself. I honestly don’t really see what I can actually say that will interest people that much anyway. And in the end, it’s much easier to write it all down and hope that it may be read one day, rather than talk about it with a random person who happens to be in the vicinity, wait for their reaction, and then most likely get the usual “well that reminds me of when that happened to me…”. OK, that was probably a bit over the top, I am basically just trying to say that I find it extremely difficult to talk about myself, and if you want to know something you really have to pull it out of me. I don’t think that will change anytime in the near future.

I don’t know, maybe I am asking for too much… I have a good memory and tend to remember things about others. If we are close friends I don’t need Facebook to remind me it’s your birthday and I know that you prefer chocolate over red velvet. Or I will remember that you have an exam or big test tomorrow and will wish you luck beforehand. I am the one to send you a “safe flight” text before you get on a flight just because I want you to know I’m thinking of you when you are travelling. I try really hard to remember every important detail, but sometimes I forget too (especially when I write a note about it!), but I really try.

I think this is why I get unnecessarily upset when people forget about something important I am doing. Going back to what my friend said yesterday: maybe I should remind people constantly about something, and in the end I won’t be disappointed when they don’t actually forget. But then again, I just can’t bring myself to. I just get annoyed at your for not remembering, but I will never say that either. Because, in the end, does it all really matter? (Yes, but I won’t say that either).

Enough talk about me. There are a lot more interesting things happening in the world today, like Saudi women maybe finally getting the chance to vote (in 2015), women protesters being pepper-sprayed by the police during the Occupy Wall Street protest yesterday, the continuing famine in Somalia…